A Christianity Today article suggests “Children may be the people most receptive to quiet, reflective spiritual formation.” The article takes a good look at what sounds a lot like the Montessori-based The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, but doesn’t name any specific program. What they found will be surprising to many from the program-driven children’s ministry set…. turns out kids are quite capable of benefiting from a quiet, contemplative spirituality. In other words, it turns out they don’t really need an activity-based video-enhanced highly stimulating environment in order to find God. Whoodathunkit?
Hat Tip for the CT article to Emergent-No, of all places, since I spotted the link on the Emergent-No aggregator, a new service by Justin Baeder & Co to aggregate Emergent-No and Slice of Laodicea so that everyone whose comments are censored or who are otherwise banned from posting on those sites can post comments on this site instead. Alan Hartung describes it as “Same content, different comments” and intends to post there. This is amusing, but I have to say I’m skeptical of the value of “dialogue” with those folks, based on past performance. Nevertheless, this whole thing is probably an early Christmas present for Bob Hyatt.
As suggested in a comment on Bob’s Blog, these folks do remind me of Marguerite Perrin, the psycho-christian in the recent episode of Trading Spouses. I saw the episode while flipping channels, and in true FOX fashion, a brief snippet was enough to drop your jaw and glue you incredulously to the tube for the rest of the hour. Not one of the things I’m proud of, but I succumbed.
Anyway, contrary to popular belief, emerging church people do not eat their young. You just can’t convince some people of stuff like that. I’ve been thinking about it lately, remembering the Sting song, Russians (okay, you youngsters that are considered “emerging generations” may have to just bear with us old fogies and click through to read the lyrics at the end of the link and Google half the words… you see, there was this thing called The Cold War…). So anyway, the reason I’ve been thinking about it all comes down to what was probably a heartfelt question, but one which came across with “a tone” during the panel discussion I took part in recently. The final question we took before the lunch break was from a lady in the back of the room whose face I couldn’t see due to the television-studio lighting. The question was, in essence, “What about the kids?” as in “Okay, sure, yeah, well, but what about the kids?” I fielded the question at face value, but I was asking myself later if there hadn’t been something behind it, if the questions wasn’t half accusation. I asked some folks who were there to be sure it wasn’t just me and they thought maybe it was intended to trip us up, as though this question would catch us on something.
So even if some people seem to think it’s a sign of intelligence deficit, we “emerging church people” love our children at least enough to make them teddy-bear pancakes. There, I said it. We’re not monsters. In case you’re wondering, what I said in response to the question began with the words, “I promise you, there’s nothing we struggled and wrestled with more….” I think this is pretty normal. The corollary for me broke through one day when it dawned on me, “If the old way of ‘doing church’ isn’t good enough for me, how could it be good enough for my kids?” In some fashion I haven’t fully apprehended, this marked the point of no return.
Update: after sleeping on this one, I awoke with another movie quote on the brain… another from Lawrence of Arabia, this one an exchange between Peter O’Tool’s Lawrence and Anthony Quinn’s Auda abu Tayi. Lawrence promises Auda he would leave Aqaba for Cairo and return in ten days with gold and with guns. In tow, he has two young boys following him, and the three of them will make the journey alone.
Auda: In ten days. You will cross Sinai?
Lawrence: Why not? Moses did.
Auda: And you will take the children?
Lawrence (his voice echoing as he strikes out across the desert): Moses did!
Auda (shouting after him): Moses was a prophet and beloved of God…
Prophet or not, it helps to be beloved of God… and I suggest that the children qualify.